George developed and taught for many years the popular second-year MBA course Authentic Leadership Development (ALD), which he has compressed into a five-day Executive Education program at Harvard Business School.
"The most successful leaders will not necessarily be those with the highest IQ," he says. "Of course, they will need to be intelligent. But they'll also need to have a high level of cultural and emotional intelligence."
According to George, additional characteristics of a successful global leader include:
An intellectual understanding of the global business context—in other words, an ability to comprehend just how complex it can be to do business around the world.
The capacity to simultaneously develop a global and local perspective. "This is much easier said than done," George says. "And it's almost impossible to achieve without a great deal of experience living in different parts of the world."
Being able to overcome the dominant thinking at headquarters. "Leadership has to lean in favor of nondominant thinking," says George. "That requires a tremendous amount of intercultural empathy and a passion for diversity in life experiences." In other words: "An insatiable need to learn about other cultures."
A knack for cross-boundary partnering. "You need to feel comfortable engaging a team in India and giving them as much power as a team in Germany or the United States. There's a certain level of executive leadership maturity involved in having the respect and capacity to pull the best out of each area of the corporation."
A self-awareness and self-assurance when it comes to one's values and sense of purpose. At the same time, however, "you need to be flexible in learning from and empowering others."
The ability to develop networks that are internal and external to the organization. "It's a process of shifting from vertical management to horizontal collaboration. One's title and role are far less important than the capacity to get things...